ATO to not impose some FTL on time penalties following IT issues

The ATO has announced that it will not be imposing Failure To Lodge (FTL) on time penalties for some reporting obligations, following from recent IT issues.

The ATO said it acknowledges the affect that “our systems incidents” have had. “We know you have been inconvenienced and need space to catch up without the need to deal with the imposition of penalties,” said the ATO statement announcing that some FTL penalties would not be applied:

Failure to lodge (FTL) on time penalty will not be imposed for tax returns and all activity statements due to be lodged from December 2016 to the end of August 2017, where lodgment is received by 31 August 2017. This applies to the following obligations:

  • 2016 tax returns
  • Monthly activity statements – November 2016 to July 2017, inclusive
  • 2017 PAYG instalment activity statements – Quarter 2, Quarter 3
  • 2017 Quarterly activity statements – Quarter 2, Quarter 3.

“If FTL penalty has been imposed on any of the above obligations for your clients, we will remit it. You do not need to apply for the remission,” said the ATO.

“We will commence the remission of FTL penalties shortly and will advise when it has been completed.”

Some ATO IT systems recently experienced an outage, only hours after the Commissioner gave an address at the National Press Club.

The ATO says it “remains committed to ensuring the ongoing stability, availability and resilience of our IT systems for Tax Time 2017 and into the future”.

“The issues we have encountered with our systems over the past few weeks highlight the sheer size, scale, and complexity of the ATO’s IT environment. We continue to examine the triggers and cause of these issues and this analysis is informing the ongoing remediation work we are undertaking. We can confirm recent events have not been related to our storage area network (SAN), but have been caused by other hardware or mainframe issues, and sometimes simply human error.”

“While we are doing everything we can to minimise the risk of being exposed to systems incidents in the future and the resulting impact these incidents have on our stakeholders, we do anticipate there may be some further minimal disruption to our services as we continue work to implement the IT improvements identified in the report.”

“We acknowledge the more regular nature of these incidents recently continues to impact on those stakeholders – tax practitioners, the superannuation industry and digital service providers – who rely on the availability of our systems to run their business.”

“We are working to minimise any inconvenience of these issues and importantly, provide certainty around the assistance and support available from the ATO should they be unable to meet their tax obligations through no fault of their own.”

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